The 60th Bergen International Festival
Their Majesties The King and Queen attended the opening of the Bergen International Festival on Torgallmenningen in the city centre today. A specially composed fanfare was performed for the King and Queen as a gift for their 75th birthdays.
"Norway in red, white and blue, one of the countrys most beloved national songs, was played upon the King and Queens arrival at King Olav Vs Square. A new fanfare was performed when the King and Queen took their place at the podium in the middle of Torgallmenningen, the avenue traversing Bergen city centre. Composed by Ketil Hvoslef , the overture is a gift from the Bergen International Festival to the King and Queen in honour of their 75th birthdays.
Norwegian Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt carried out the formal opening, which included remarks by the mayor of Bergen and author Dag Solstad, this years Festival Speaker. The opening of the 60th Bergen International Festival also featured song and dance performances.
Nordic artistic expression
The Bergen International Festival is Norways oldest and most important music and theatre festival. Over two weeks, some 150 performances are held in over 20 venues. In addition, the festival has a strong presence in the city through its large programme of free-of-charge outdoor events.
The Bergen International Festival aims to cultivate creativity and present artistic expression at the highest level to the widest possible audience. Its vision is to become the most important meeting place for creative and performing artists from the Nordic region. The festival combines tradition and renewal in a programme that is rooted in diversity and encourages reflection.
Opening concert in Grieg Hall
This evening, the King and Queen will attend this years opening concert in Grieg Hall, where Komische Oper Berlin will perform Handels opera Xerxes.
Xerxes is one of Handels most colourful and dramatic works. The opera is based on the famous Persian king, but does not deal with war and international politics. Instead the audience will experience a baroque romantic drama – with a twist.
During intermission and following the performance, the King and Queen will be meeting several of the vocalists, as well as the director of Komische Oper Berlin, Andreas Homoki, and Stefan Herheim of Norway who directed tonights performance. The Festival Speaker Dag Solstad and Ketil Hvoslef, the composer of the fanfare presented in the morning, will also be among the guests during intermission.
The Festival Exhibition
Each year a special art exhibition is designed for the Bergen International Festival, and tomorrow Queen Sonja will attend the opening of this years exhibition. This years Festival Artist, Marianne Heier, has chosen to move her work out of the halls of Bergen Kunsthall into the urban space outside. A key component of the exhibition is the fate of the fishing trawler Vima.
The Bergen International Festival is under the patronage of His Majesty The King.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.